Dimension Data, SoftwareONE, Comparex and Atea are among the big winners of a new framework designed to help universities and research institutions across the UK and Europe move to cloud-based infrastructure, CRN has learned.
Worth an estimated €300m (£258m) to €500m over four years, the IaaS framework is run by GÉANT, a pan-European network representing 36 European Research and Education Networks (NRENs), including the UK's JANET.
According to sources, agreements for the framework – which aims to "stimulate the adoption of cloud services in research and education" – have been awarded following the conclusion of a 10-day cooling off period.
There appear to be five successful awardees in the UK – Atea, Comparex, Infosoft Systems, Micromail and SoftwareONE – on Azure.
Three suppliers, meanwhile – Arcus Global, Comparex and Telecom Italia – got the nod in the UK on Amazon Web Services, while CloudSigma, Dimension Data, Interoute and NTT Europe made the grade here on cloud hosting.
"The frameworks will provide standardised contract terms for use by NRENs and their client institutions," the original notice stated.
"This will remove, or at least significantly reduce, the local overhead for technical, commercial or legal activities typically required when engaging new suppliers. As a result, this procurement will significantly reduce the barriers for the customers to consume IaaS solutions."
One source with knowledge of the tender said the framework is part of a cloud push among European academic institutions.
"Their mission is to push a lot of those workloads into the cloud and they've set up this framework to do that," he said.
Achim Herber, vice president of Germany and the UK for Comparex, whom we approached for comment after we'd learned of the framework's award, said the framework represents a "door opener to start a discussion on our value add on Azure and AWS".
"We are not expecting to just lean back and take orders," he said. "It's a fantastic start to go and look for opportunities, but now the work really starts."
Across Europe as a whole, Arcus Global, Comparex and Telecom Italia were the sole winners on the AWS side. Comparex, Atea, SoftwareONE, Micromail and Infosoft Systems emerged as the most successful bidders for Azure.
In a letter to suppliers, GÉANT, which bills itself as a pan-European data network for the research and education community, said it expected service delivery for the framework to start in September.
GÉANT had not responded to our request for comment at the time of publication.
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